Back to Astronomy Basics after 20 Years

Crude eyepiece projected image
Crude eyepiece projected image

After 20 years of having no telescope I purchased a new Advanced VX 8″ EdgeHD Telescope.  I found myself having to learn astronomy all over again. I thought if the moon was out it would be easier to learn about aligning the telescope because I could see all the knobs. I didn’t take into account not being able to see the stars because of the light from the moon overpowering the light from the stars. Anyway this topic will be will be explored.




The Last Space Shuttle Launch

As I posted earlier I got to see the first space shuttle launch. I had always planned to see other launches but just didn’t do it until STS-134 the next to the last space shuttle launch. I decided to follow up to see back to back launches with STS-135. I teamed up with a friend from Rockingham and my nephew and got to see the last launch. I think they should have extended the program but I guess it wasn’t to be. Here is the video I posted on Youtube.

The First Space Shuttle Launch

After the Apollo program ended in 1974 NASA started planning for the the Space Shuttle. I decided at that time to attend the first Space Shuttle Launch. I applied for and received a pass to view the first Space Shuttle launch. STS1PASS

After announcing my plans a couple of friends from the Astronomy Club in Richmond decided to attend the first Space Shuttle launch with me. This was an exciting time and took a lot of planning. We decided to allow for a couple of days extra just in case the launch was scrubbed. Sure enough the first launch was scrubbed but we decided to make the best of it and head for Disney World. Most of us at the launch site decided to go to as this time this was the biggest crowd they ever head there. We did the disney thing and returned to the launch site the next day after the scheduled 24 hours turn around time. NASA must have learned something because they had the launch viewing entrance better organized and we were much better equipped to view the launch. After the launch I remember following the shuttle until it disappeared after the engine cut off. I do remember following the metallic like object for quite a few minutes after the engine cut off. I had a great time and it was a quite an accomplishment for me to get to attend this launch.




My Fun With Talk Radio

SWL FielddayFirst of all I am a shy person. I was listening to Rush Dec. 11 2015 on Open Line Friday and he was asking for technical questions. I knew that he was an Apple person and thought it was time to call him about my duplicate photos on Iphone problem. After 109 tries I got thru and told the call screener what I wanted to asked. He said he liked that question and put me thru for the first caller of the day. When I had called local talk shows in the past I got nervous but while waiting for Rush to come to the phone I didn’t get nervous at all. This was an awesome experience. Here is the transcript of my call. A friend recorded part of the call and put it on Youtube.  In addition to Rush I have talked on the air with Kim Komando and got to meet and win $2,000 from Dave Ramsey  when he came to Raleigh for his EntreLeadership Book Tour.  I’ve been listening to talk radio all my life. As a teenager I turned listen to the radio at night. My mother taught me how to call a radio station in order to get on the air or win a contest. My dad introduced me to listening to the police scanner. I have a lot of fun with radio and I participate with the Tar Heel Scanner / SWL Sig Group.  The scanner group has field days where we listen to our shortwave radios with various antennas.

Scanner "FieldDay"
Scanner “FieldDay”

They meet once a month in Raleigh and are a Special Interest Group (Sig) of the Raleigh Amateur Radio Club.

Working Amateur Radio Satellites

If you have never worked an amateur radio satellite you are in for a treat. You need to have your technician license of course but after that you do not have to have fancy equipment. I just used a Yaesu VX-1R and my Icom 706 MKIIG. You can find the schedule of the satellites at AMSAT Online Satellite Pass. I set up a schedule to work my friend W4JE in Arlington VA on Oscar 14 and it was great to work him. My friend Byron King K4NGJ (SK) got interested in working satellite so I was able to work him across town when Oscar 14 was common to us both. Now that was a hoot. Later on I worked a Mexican station on Oscar 14 and then a view minutes later I worked the same station on AO 27. We both got a kick out of that one.

Having Fun With Amateur Radio

Icom 706MKIIG
Icom 706MKIIG

Back in the late 70’s I was attending a star party in a rural area in Virginia. My friend needed to call his home and at this time there were no cell phones like we have now. There was a ham that was attending the star party and he pulled his HT out and made the call. I was impressed. I finally got my General license in 1981 and enjoy many different operating modes in amateur radio. I enjoy checking into the Virginia Fone Net and my number is 72. This net is held each evening at 7:30 PM and 4:00 PM on 3.947 MHz. I also enjoy the JARS Prep net on Tuesday nights on the AK4H repeater 147.270 at 9:00 AM. In addition to my ham radio I enjoy Radio Astronomy. I am a member of the Society of Amateur Radio Astronomers. I am a mentor for the Itty Bitty Telescope. If anyone would like to know more about what we do let me know about this let me know.